UTC Civil War Press Symposium Celebrates 25th Meeting Nov. 2-4

Friday, October 20, 2017

The UTC’s twenty-fifth annual Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression will be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Nov. 2–4. The conference will begin Thursday afternoon at the Chattanooga Marriott Downtown and continue Friday and Saturday at the UTC University Center. All paper sessions are free and open to the public.   

The symposium will feature 35 speakers from across the nation, including prominent scholars such as Donald Shaw, the creator of the agenda-setting theory of the press, Brian Gabrial, the author of The Press and Slavery in America, 1791–1859, James E. Mueller, the author of Shooting Arrows and Slinging Mud: Custer, the Press, and the Little Bighorn, and Gregory A. Borchard and David W. Bulla, the authors of Lincoln Mediated: The President and the Press through Nineteenth-Century Media.

“Our conference boasts many fine historians, and we are proud to celebrate the 25th annual symposium this year,” said David B. Sachsman, the director of the conference and holder of the UTC West Chair of Excellence. 

The purpose of the conference is to share current research and develop a series of monographs on the 19th century press, the Civil War and the press, and 19th century concepts of free expression. Papers from the first five conferences were published by Transaction Publishers in 2000 as a book of readings called The Civil War and the Press. Purdue University Press published papers from past conferences in three distinctly different books titled Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film from Uncle Tom's Cabin to Cold Mountain (2007), Words at War: The Civil War and American Journalism (2008), and Seeking a Voice: Images of Race and Gender in the 19th Century Press (2009). In 2013, Transaction published Sensationalism: Murder, Mayhem, Mudslinging, Scandals, and Disasters in 19th-Century Reporting, and in 2014, it published A Press Divided: Newspaper Coverage of the Civil War. This year, Transaction (now an imprint of Taylor & Francis) published After the War: The Press in a Changing America, 1865–1900. 

The conference will begin Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Chattanooga Marriott Downtown (2 Carter Plaza) at 4 p.m. with a presentation on "Editorials of Border States During the Secession Period" by Melony Shemberger of Murray State University, followed by a panel entitled "From the Arctic to the Orient: Adventure Journalism of the Gilded Age" including presentations and discussion by Sandra Davidson of the University of Missouri, freelance writer Bill Book, Lee Jolliffe of Drake University, James Mueller of the University of North Texas, Jennifer Moore of the University of Minnesota, and Crompton B. Burton of the University of Maine. The first session will conclude with a discussion by Pat McNeely of the University of South Carolina on the subject of her new book, Eyewitnesses to General William T. Sherman’s Campaign in the Civil War.

The Thursday evening session will include presentations on "'Marry, This is the Short and the Long of It': Agenda Setting and the Antebellum Press" by Donald L. Shaw of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Thomas C. Terry of Utah State University; "Press Coverage of the Secession Movement as a Cause of the Civil War" by Debra Van Tuyll of Augusta University; "'The negro occupies the whole time, and there is no time left for white men': Slavery, whiteness, and the Union in the St. Louis press during the election of 1860" by Stuart MacKay of Carleton University; "Manhood without Soldiering: Northern Illustrated Newspapers and Civilian Men in the American Civil War" by Zachary Arms of Lehigh University; and "'Grant Abroad': Around the World with the General and the Journalist" by Crompton B. Burton of the University of Maine.  

The symposium will continue on Friday, Nov. 3, in the Raccoon Mountain Room of UTC’s University Center at 9 a.m. with the following presentations: "A Strong Impulse: The Transatlantic Slave Trade through American Newspapers, 1808–1844" by Donald L. Shaw of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Thomas C. Terry of Utah State University; "Disunion or Submission? Southern Editors and the Nullification Crisis, 1830–1832" by Erika Pribanic-Smith of the University of Texas at Arlington; "'The blood of John Hampden Pleasants shall cry from the ground': Newspaper Coverage of the Ritchie-Pleasants Duel of 1846" by James Scythes of West Chester University; "An Editorial House Divided: Texas Editors and the Compromise of 1850" by Mary M. Cronin of New Mexico State University; "Press Responses to Republicans and Romanism in the 1856 Election: 'Free Men, Free Speech, Free Press, Free Territory, and Frémont'" by Gregory A. Borchard of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; "'More than a Skirmish': Press Coverage of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates" by David W. Bulla of Augusta University; and "The Fire-Eating Charleston Mercury: Stoking the Flames of Secession and Civil War" by Debra Van Tuyll of Augusta University.

The afternoon sessions will continue with presentations on "Loyalty and Liberty: The Struggle for Union in Upcountry South Carolina, 1828–1835" by Brian Neumann of the University of Virginia; "The Dred Scott Tragedy: How the Press was Complicit" by Joe Mathewson of Northwestern University; "Race, a Slave, the Court, and the Looming War" by Bill Huntzicker of St. Cloud State University; "Abolitionism, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the End of Compromise" by Dianne Bragg of the University of Alabama; and "Fanning the Flames: Extremist Rhetoric in the Antebellum Press, and the Road to Secession" by Phillip A. Lingle of New Mexico State University.

The afternoon session will conclude with five paper presentations: "Garrison, Bailey, and Douglass: Pushing the Boundaries of Freedom's Forum" by David W. Bulla of Augusta University; "Framing the Debate: How Newspapers Influenced the Lincoln/Douglas Debates" by Scott Lambert of Millikin University; "Fast but Flawed: The Relationship Between the Electric Telegraph & the Press in the American Civil War" by Simon Vodrey of Carleton University; "L’Union: Union General Benjamin Butler and the Beginnings of the African American Press in the South" by Nancy Dupont of the University of Mississippi; and "'A Hearing in the Press': Ida B. Wells' Lecture Tour of 1893–1894" by Joe Hayden of the University of Memphis; and a panel on "Presidents and the Press: Compromise, Symbols, Pulpits and Honeymoons" featuring presentations and discussion by Katrina J. Quinn of Slippery Rock University, Paulette D. Kilmer of the University of Toledo, Joseph Marren of SUNY Buffalo State, and Jack Breslin of Iona College.  

The conference will conclude Saturday morning, Nov. 4, in the Chickamauga Room of UTC’s University Center. The session will begin at 9 a.m. and include five paper presentations: "Irrepressible Words: William Seward, the 'Irrepressible Conflict' Speech, and Harper's Ferry" by Brian Gabrial of Concordia University; "'Fire bell in the night': The Missouri Compromise and its Impact on the Election of 1860" and "The Rail-splitter Splits the Nation: Newspapers and Lincoln’s Election in 1860" by Joseph Marren of SUNY Buffalo State; "The New York Evening Post's Representation of Exchange Articles Between December 13 and December 31, 1860" by Erika Thrubis of Wayne State University; and "Limey, Yankee, Rebel, Spy: British Correspondents' Games of Deception in Secession Winter Charleston" by Michael Fuhlhage of Wayne State University. The Saturday session will conclude with a discussion of “Civil War Monuments” by James Ogden of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park & Moccasin Bend National Archeological District, who will also lead a tour of Chattanooga’s historic Civil War sites and monuments Saturday afternoon. 

The symposium is sponsored by the West Chair of Excellence, the UTC Communication Department, the Walter and Leona Schmitt Family Foundation Research Fund, and the Hazel Dicken-Garcia Fund for the Symposium, and because of this sponsorship all sessions are free and open to the public. For further information, contact David B. Sachsman, holder of the West Chair, 425-4219, david-sachsman@utc.edu.



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